Maria* was at her nanna’s house when she found out a private, intimate video of hers had somehow appeared online – and everyone she knew was sharing it and watching it.
“I couldn’t stop shaking, I couldn’t breathe… I knew I had never sent them out, and I just dropped to the floor,” Maria told Lovin Malta after days of stress. For the entire week, she’s been trying to contain the growing backlash from the leaked video, which shows her alone in an intimate setting – but it has been humiliating and embarrassing to deal with, especially for a girl still in school.
“I feel scared, like I want to hide in a hole, petrified of what people are saying – this is the worst I’ve ever been in my life.”
Maria’s ordeal started last weekend, when she found out at least nine videos she had saved on her phone had somehow appeared online. She contacted police soon after – but by Monday, a fake account had appeared online, sending her videos to people she knew… and even some she didn’t.
Soon enough, the circulation of her videos had snowballed, with one of them eventually making it onto the screen of an Msida restaurant after players from Siġġiewi FC allegedly cast the video on a TV as they were dining.
But as far as Maria is concerned, she just wants all the rumours to stop, and for anyone involved in the release and sharing of her video to be brought to justice. In the wake of the release, everyone from her ex-boyfriend to her friends have been mentioned in rumours about possible leaks, even though there is no evidence to support this.
“I wish people would stop spreading rumours, just saying whatever comes to mind and putting more fuel on the fire… I don’t know the truth myself yet, this whole situation is still under investigation, and so many people are reaching out to me and are telling me things, some of which I’ve never even heard myself…” she said.
However, though she’s experiencing one of the lowest points of her life, even having been suicidal previously, she is determined not to let this stop her life and dreams.
“This will not break me, I will come back even stronger than before,” Maria said strongly. “I am taking action myself, I’m not just sitting here crying, I am working with the police… and whoever is behind this will be punished.”
Amidst all the pain, several people have both publicly and privately supported Maria and given her a shoulder to rest on, and to those people she wanted to say: “Thank you… they are the reason I’m still holding on.”
“I’ve only ever wanted to bring positivity to the world,” Maria ended.
*Names have been changed